Starbucks Wins Suit About Latte Sizes

A judge has ordered up a dismissal of a lawsuit against coffee giant Starbucks. The lawsuit alleged that Starbucks didn’t fill its lattes full to the brim. In addition, the lawsuit alleged that the chronic cheating on latte sizes was an intentional way to save on costs because it required less milk.

The plaintiffs brought the case as a class action. That means they asked to represent everyone in the United States that had the same problem. If the court had heard the case, it would have resolved the issue for everyone who made a latte purchase unless buyers specifically chose to opt out. While that could have been a grande problem for Starbucks, the court said that there wasn’t enough merit to the case to even entertain it.

The named Plaintiffs are Benjamin Robles, Siera Strumlauf and Brittany Crittenden. They spearheaded the effort on behalf of latte lovers across the county. They said that Starbucks filled the drinks to about a quarter inch to the top of the cup.

Plaintiffs contend the company left the rest of the cup filled with nothing but milk foam and hot air. They say it wasn’t fair to say that the milk foam counts as being part of the latte. They say Starbucks should have measured their drinks by volume and not based on size. The plaintiffs decided the frothy failure deserved legal action, and they filed a claim for compensation.

The judge went to U.S. District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers. She said that the case didn’t have merit. The crux of the dismissal rested on the question of whether milk foam is a necessary part of a latte. The plaintiffs admitted that some milk froth is needed to make a latte. In other words, it’s impossible to make the drinks without the froth, but the plaintiff still said that too much froth cheated them out of a fair latte for what Starbucks offers for sale.

The judge said that there’s just no way a consumer could have reasonably assumed that there wouldn’t be at least some froth in the drinks. She said that it was reasonable for Starbucks to include the milk foam in their latte sizes. The judge was also impressed by the evidence Starbucks presented that their cup sizes are larger than what they advertise. They say that’s to compensate for froth. Starbucks says that they’re happy with the court’s decision.

A federal Judge blocks the Move to end the DACA Program by the Trump Administration

The move by President Donald Trump to terminate a program that was enacted by the Obama administration that a judge has blocked protected undocumented children who were brought to the United States from deportation. Judge William Alsup, who serves as a US District judge in San Francisco made a ruling on Tuesday that the DACA program must be maintained as the litigation unfolds over the decision by President Trump. The DACA program which stands for the deferment action on childhood arrivals allowed immigrants who amounted to over 800,000 to live, school and work in the United States without fear of being deported since its authorization in 2012 by former president Barrack Obama.

The DACA program was rescinded in September last year by the trump administration which has placed the fate of the undocumented immigrants popularly known as the dreamers in the decision that awaits to be made by Congress. The decision by President Donald Trump has triggered individuals, organizations and even state authorities to file lawsuits in US federal courts. The administration gave a 30-day grace period for applicants to respond or appeal to their decision after they announced on September 5, 2017. The program is set to expire on the 5th of March this year. However, the deadline to renew any applications made by the immigrants have already expired which in some way has sealed the fate of the 800,000 dreamers who are chasing the American dream.

In the ruling that was issued by Judge Alsup, DACA protection recipients who had in the past failed to register must be given another opportunity to register for the privileges and benefits of the Obama era program. However, the judge was very categorical that the federal government would not process applications which had never been received by the program before. Almost 22,000 recipients of the DACA program were not able to submit their application for the eligibility of the program successfully according to a survey that has been carried out by the Center for American Progress.

The study reveals that a median number of 122 recipients of the DACA program would eventually lose their legal protection on a daily basis in the six months period between September 5, 2017, and March 5, 2018. In a detailed judgment by judge Alsup, he noted that the Trump administration had failed to have the program needs of 689,800 DACA recipients who had to rely on the legal protection of the program to work and live in the United States.

Lawyer Giving Free Aid To Homeless People

A lawyer in Dover is helping homeless people get the legal help that they need. Alfred Cataflo III is giving free legal assistance to homeless people. Anyone who is staying at the homeless shelter located on 106 Brock Street in Rochester. Last week, the shelter asked for help from attorneys, auto mechanics and landlords. Alfred was one of the people who responded to the call.

Many homeless people have had legal issues with their landlords. They have not been able to get those issues resolved because they cannot afford an attorney. Most homeless people spend all of their money on trying to survive. Alfred said that he feels compelled to help. He stated that he hopes that he will be able to help these people get back on their feet.

Alfred comes to the shelter every Monday to meet with people. He also meets with people on the weekend. He stated that people have to be willing to help sometimes. He also stated that he is happy to help.

The Rochester Community Center is a temporary shelter. It opened in response to the record low temperatures. The city experienced a 10-day cold snap where the temperatures dropped to the single digits.

Alfred is hoping that other attorneys will respond to the call. He is also hoping that more resources will become available for the homeless people. The cold weather has brought attention to the homeless crisis. People’s lives are at risk. However, Alfred is hoping that people do not ignore this issue now that the cold snap is over.

Alfred stated that any homeless person who is interested in getting legal help should get in contact with him. They can call him at 742-7558. They can also email him at catalfolaw@gmail.com. He looks forward to handling several legal cases involving housing and criminal issues.

German Officials Oppose Social Media Hate Speech Law

In late October of last year, German officials enacted new legislation that would foist incredible accountability upon social media sites for their users’ content. Twitter, Facebook, and similar online communities have historically been largely immune to the actions of their users. While outright illegal content could find the companies behind these websites in legal trouble, for the most part the actual degree of liability has been fairly negligible.

The new law authorized the government to bring hefty fines against websites that allow posts which violates the country’s notoriously strict hate speech laws. According to the law, fines can range as high as $60 million, making it a serious issues for websites that otherwise rely on ad revenue to stay online. Online communities with user counts above two million were specifically targeted, meaning sites like Facebook and Twitter, which boasts hundreds of millions for the latter and over a billion for the former, could face countless fines due to the difficulty of moderating such a large community.

The courts prudently gave websites until 2018 to improve their moderation staff and software, which in most cases occurred throughout the latter half of 2017. Facebook, for example, pushed to hire an additional 10,000 live moderators and also added improvements to their automated moderation tools, a tactic also adopted by video sharing site YouTube.

While the new law initially saw much support from within the German government, user responses were more divisive. Members of Twitter and other communities have rallied against the new law as an unabashed overstep into free speech rights, a perspective which is now being mirrored by several opposition parties within Germany. Free Democrats general secretary Nicola Beer argued that the ability to censor content in violation of German hate speech laws needed to remain in the hands of government officials and prosecuting authorities, rather than a foreign website’s moderation staff.

Green party leader Simone Peter echoed this sentiment, pointing out the problem of having U.S.-based companies wield such a degree of control over discourse in a foreign country. Peter highlighted the banning of an account held by Titanic, a popular German humor magazine which was accused of offensive comments towards Muslims. Alternative for Germany, a far-right group opposed to immigration, was similarly banned for alleged hate speech against Muslim communities. Parliament leader Sahra Wagenknecht also came out in support of dropping the law, thus bringing Germany’s Left Party to bear against the legislation.

 

AARP Sued Over Insurance Policies

The American Association of Retired Persons has long been held in great regard by many individuals. The organization membership maintained significant numbers for decades by focusing on special benefits and product offerings to all members, many times regardless of age. One of those special types of products has traditionally been insurance, including connecting members with Medicare Part D providers.

These types of offerings have commonly been associated with the organization for years without much problem. However, the health insurance mandate that came with the Affordable Care Act impacted the number of individuals interested in plans, even though they were also required to purchase a membership. And now, legal action has been taken against AARP and the various subset health insurance companies of UnitedHealth Group, Inc., claiming financial elder abuse, negligence, and illegal selling of the policies without a license.

The plaintiffs claim that AARP was actually promoting plans from UnitedHealth Group and UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company as superior and more economical than other similar products on the market, a claim that was later recognized as being deceptive. The ultimate claim is that both AARP and UnitedHealth had colluded in a agreement to allow AARP branding for the products with their recommendation in exchange for being paid a designated “royalty” for each new policy written. The plaintiffs claim this action is actually a commission, as opposed to a referral bonus or royalty, and is being done outside of the legal scope of licensing.

The case was originally filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, but was transferred on Dec. 15, 2017 to the U.S. District Court for Central California. The case was denied at the district level, but the appeal to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals resulted in a determination that the claim actually did have merit and should be heard because of the significant number of elderly people who may be involved. The three original plaintiffs also seek to include all other individuals in California who are over 65 years of age and purchased a policy based on the recommendation of AARP, which would make this a huge class action case that could also impact AARP insurance sales in other states as well following a federal court ruling.

Tad Cummins Challenges Police Confession

The teacher who is in jail for kidnapping and brainwashing a student wants the court to throw out the confession he made to the police. He says the police coerced the confession. Cummins awaits trial on charges related to taking the student out of state and hiding her from her family and police.

Cummins claims that the police improperly worked with his now-estranged wife to get Cummins to admit that he had sex with his student. He says it was unfair for law enforcement to work with his wife. Cummins also claims that law enforcement said if he didn’t confess, they’d make sure he received a harsher sentence.

The attorney representing Cummins says that the police violated his constitutional rights. He says it’s among the worst cases of police misconduct that he’s ever witnessed in thirty years of criminal law practice. The attorney calls the case “one of the most aggravated cases of the trampling of constitutional rights” that he’s ever reviewed.

The U.S. Constitution says that the police can’t force people to testify or otherwise incriminate themselves. When the police violate a person’s Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, the statements that the person makes aren’t admissible against them in court. A person can lawfully refuse to answer questions from the police. If a person is in custody, the police can’t interrogate them without reading them their Miranda Rights. If the person asks for a lawyer, law enforcement must stop the interrogation.

Cummins’ victim was only 15 years old. Cummins told his wife that he was leaving for a while, but he did not tell his wife that he was leaving with the teen. The kidnapping prompted a nationwide search. Police found the pair in a remote cabin in California after more than five weeks on the run.

Cummins faces federal charges because he allegedly transported a minor across state lines. Federal officials say that he transported the minor with the intent to engage in illegal sexual conduct with the minor child. Cummins faces a long prison sentence if he’s convicted.

Cummins’ wife worked with the police to talk with Cummins. She says the police helped her arrange the conversations. Police say working with friends and family is a common law enforcement tactic.

If the police threatened Cummins with rape charges if he didn’t admit to consensual sex, Cummins’ statements may be considered involuntary. It’s okay for police to use trickery, but promises and threats violate the constitutional rights of the accused. Future court dates are pending in the case.

Federal Government to Enforce Marijuana Laws

As states across the country move to legalize recreational marijuana, the federal government is doing just the opposite. Under the direction of President Donald Trump, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is ending long-standing federal policy of looking the other way at marijuana grow operations in the United States. Barack Obama and his administration refused to enforce federal marijuana offenses in the United States. Sessions is walking back that policy.

Sessions isn’t directing U.S. attorneys throughout the nation to aggressively go after marijuana growers. Instead, he’s leaving it up to each local U.S. attorney to make the judgment call. If the local U.S. attorney believes that it’s best to bring the charges, they’re able to bring the marijuana charges in federal court.

Obama’s representatives said that state marijuana regulations are “strong and effective.” They didn’t think it was necessary to put additional resources from the federal government into marijuana enforcement. Obama’s administration directed federal attorneys not to prioritize marijuana violations. Instead, they focused on violence, drug use and organized crime. Sessions and his supporters say that rooting marijuana out at the source will address problems of violence, drug use and organized crime too.

Some U.S. attorneys say that they’re hesitant to prosecute marijuana offenses if state law makes marijuana legal. Even though federal laws overrule state law, some say that it’s hard to enforce federal marijuana laws when the public perception is that marijuana use is legal. There’s nothing that a state or local government can do to override a federal law. However, defendants have a right to a jury trial in federal court, and prosecutors may encounter a practical problem of little support on the jury.

The marijuana debate is shaping up to be another point of controversy for the already controversial Sessions. California’s new year brought with it the state legalization of recreational marijuana use. Michigan also has new laws for commercialized production of marijuana. Now, federal attorneys are free to pursue prosecution of these establishments. The industry is up in limbo. Sessions’ supporters say that’s a good thing for public safety. Opponents say that it’s not good for the tax revenue that legalized marijuana is expected to generate.

Another question is the effect that the policy shift will have on medical marijuana production and distribution. There’s a federal law that prohibits U.S. officials from pursuing and prosecuting medical marijuana production. Some wonder if the policy shift will have a cooling effect on medical marijuana production in the United States.

New Law Will Affect Pet Ownership In Divorces

A new law in Illinois will affect the way that pet ownership will be handled in divorce cases. Pets will be treated the same way that children are treated. People could get joint or partial custody after a divorce.

Jennifer Behme is an attorney who practices in Belleville, Illinois. She stated that states will have the ability to award sole or joint custody to pet owners. She also stated that the only pets that will be affected are the ones that were adopted during the marriage. If a spouse had an animal before they got married, then they will be able to keep it.

Jennifer stated that there are a lot of things that the judge will consider before awarding custody. Who is taking care of the pet, who takes the animal to the veterinarian, and the agreement that the party made before the divorce are some of the things that will be taken into consideration. A judge will award joint custody if it is the best interest of the dog. This law will not affect service animals.

Jeffrey Knipmeyer is an attorney who practices in Chicago. He stated that most couples do not have a hard time determining custody arrangements. He has been in practice for 21 years, and this has never been an issue. There has been a 30 percent decrease in pet custody cases going to court over the past three years.

However, if a pet custody case does reach the court, then this law can be beneficial. Pet custody cases are more common among two-income couples who do not have any children. This law allows the judge to decide what is best for the pet instead of what the people want. Many people only think of a pet as property. Others see their pets as members of the family.

 

California Makes Big Changes to Employment Laws

California isn’t just making big changes to its marijuana laws in the New Year. There are big changes to employment laws, too. These new laws aim to protect fairness in the hiring process and aim to prevent sexual harassment.

Limitations on Questions About Criminal History

The new employment laws prohibit hiring coordinators from asking questions about an applicant’s criminal history. Before, it was common to ask applicants to check the box if they’ve been convicted of a crime. Many times, that meant an automatic rejection of their application for employment without any follow-up questions.

Now, it’s illegal for a potential employer to ask job applicants if they’ve been convicted of a crime. It’s only after the employer has already made a conditional offer for the person’s employment that they can conduct a background check and ask the question. They’re allowed to ask, but only after they’ve conditionally offered the applicant the job.

Supporters of the bill say that it’s fair to applicants who have changed their lives after a brush with the law. They say that employers should evaluate applicants based on their current skills and character rather than on what may have happened in the distant past. They say that a person’s criminal history shouldn’t be a non-negotiable when it comes to employment decisions. They say that an applicant should have the opportunity to explain the circumstances of any criminal convictions.

However, opponents say that a criminal conviction is evidence of character. They say that for jobs where there’s money involved, finding out if an applicant has a history of theft or embezzlement is a basic question. They say the measure could hurt small businesses who are victimized by their employees.

Salary history

Potential employers can’t ask about an applicant’s salary history, either. Lawmakers don’t want employers basing pay decisions on a person’s past. They say that it’s a measure of equality and helping talented applicants get ahead. The applicant can volunteer the information, but the employer can’t directly ask for it.

Mandatory harassment training

In the wake of the #metoo movement, California’s new employment laws also aim to crack down on harassment in the workplace. Training for identifying, preventing and responding to harassment is now mandatory for all supervisors in California. When a supervisor stays on the job for more than two years, they must repeat the training. Some say the law doesn’t go far enough, but supporters say that it’s a start to creating safer workplaces in the state.

Teenager Murders Family On New Year’s Eve

One New Jersey teenager didn’t think that there was anything to celebrate on New Year’s Eve. Instead of watching Ryan Seacrest and Mariah Carey’s New Year’s do-over, the 16-year-old instead decided to brutally murder his entire family shortly before midnight. He mercilessly killed his sister, both of his parents and a friend of the family. Only his brother and grandfather fled and escaped the brutal killing.

The crime occurred in Long Branch, New Jersey. Police received a call at approximately 11:43 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. Police arrested the teenage shooter. Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni says the incident is “tragic” and “isolated.” He said that it’s a domestic incident, and they don’t believe that the public is in danger.

The victims range in age from 18 to 70. The surviving brother and grandfather were home when the shooting occurred, but they ran. Officers say the assailant used a semi-automatic assault rifle, and that a family member owned and registered the weapon.

Police aren’t giving information about a possible motive. They say they didn’t have prior calls to the home for domestic incidents. They said the killings appear to be a one-time event. Police also aren’t giving information about the mental health or disability of the killer.

Friends describe the victim’s family as “caring” and “loving.” They say the parents enjoyed spending time with their children. They also describe the victim as a “good kid.” Family members say that the assailant had learning challenges, but that he still knew how to behave appropriately. Friends say that they didn’t believe anyone in the family used drugs or alcohol.

They said they believe the killer was home-schooled because of his special needs. They say the child appeared to improve academically and emotionally with homeschooling. They describe the killer as outgoing and even funny.

The teenage victim was in her first year at Stockton University. She was majoring in health sciences. A university spokesperson says that they’re shocked by the victim’s death. They plan to offer counseling for distraught students.

The killer’s older brother said that the family wasn’t financially well off, but that the parents were committed to doing the best they could for their kids. He described his slain sister as “beautiful and smart.” Friends say that the shooter needed extra care from family members because of his challenges. The Long Branch Police Department continues to investigate. A fundraiser has raised approximately $20,000 for funeral expenses.

New Laws Taking Effect In 2018

The stroke of midnight on December 31st, 2017 meant the start of a brand new year. At the same time, it meant that many different laws all across the country were set to take effect as well. Different states pass different laws with different starting times, but many are set to start on January 1st of 2018. The following are just a few of the laws that have now going into full effect according to CNN.com.

New Employment Laws

California is putting in some new laws that make it illegal for a potential employer to ask you about your previous salary during the interview process. You are allowed as the applicant to volunteer that information if you choose, but it is not something that can be demanded of you. At the same time, applicants may now ask to see a pay scale of the position for which they are applying. This is supposed to help reduce the pay gap between men and women in some ways.

Nevada is now granting employees up to 160 hours worth of leave per year if they are the victim of domestic abuse or if someone in their family is.

Education Changes

Tennessee has a new law in place now that requires that bus drivers be at least twenty-five years old to drive a bus. This is after a deadly bus accident in Chattanooga, Tennessee by a young bus driver that caused the deaths of numerous people.

Illinois has a law on the books now that requires that schools provide feminine hygiene products to students free of charge.

Marijuana

It is a big deal for many people in California now that recreational pot is legalized there. That being said, it is probably hard to come by any right now as businesses must apply for a license to sell it. That being said, once that process kicks into high gear, anyone over the age of twenty-one in the state can purchase a set amount of the substance for recreational use.

Special Holiday

One final law going into effect in Illinois is to make August 4th “Barack Obama Day”. Of course, this is just a commemorative holiday, so it is not going to have any impact on the functioning of government or the private sector in that state. It is more of just a nod to the home state of the first African-American President.

Accidentally Killing Migratory Birds No Longer a Crime

Reversing a rule initiated in President Obama’s final weeks, the Trump administration posted a legal memo that stated that it will not seek charges against companies that accidentally kill migratory birds.

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), which is almost a hundred years old, protects birds by requiring businesses to guard against hazards that could harm them. In recent years, BP paid $100 million in fines for violating the act, and Duke Energy was found to be in criminal violation of the act. In one of its last rulings before leaving office, the Obama administration announced that the government could under the law prosecute companies for killing birds even if they do so accidentally. Though the new Trump administration suspended the application of the ruling almost immediately after taking office. Now they say that the law only applies to purposely killing migratory birds.

Under the MBTA, the government could seek 6 months in prison and a 15,000 fine for each bird killed or wounded by the actions of a company, but the Trump administration believes that this places way too much burden on businesses. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in excess of 30 million birds accidentally die every year in collisions with structures such as towers and electrical lines, and many more die in turbines and pits.

Conservation groups took exception to the new ruling. The National Audubon Society, which believes the MBTA is one of the most important conservation laws on the books, thinks that the new interpretation not only violates the intent of the treaty but it also ignores decades of long-standing legal precedent. David O’Neill, who is the chief conservation officer of the society, says that the ruling disincentivizes business from working with them to come up with solutions to the problem.

Another conservation group, the National Wildlife Foundation, lamented how the law went from being too broadly interpreted under the Obama administration to being too narrowly interpreted under the current administration.

Industry groups, though, applauded the ruling. The National Ocean Industries Association believes that the previsous interpretation created lots of uncertainty and that the current one meant the businesses would not have worry about being threatned with prosecuation over what they believe are essentially legal activities.

New Year, New Marijuana Laws

As the new year begins, new laws go into effect across the country. One of the most controversial laws is California’s new law legalizing recreational use of marijuana. If you’re at least 21, when you’re in California, you can walk into a pot shop and walk out with the marijuana of your choice. Marijuana is big business, and now the world’s biggest marijuana sales market is the Golden State.

Marijuana enthusiasts eagerly lined up as early as 6 a.m. on New Year’s Day to begin making purchases. California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control oversees licensing and regulation of marijuana shops. They expect marijuana sales to boom throughout the state.

Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom welcomes the changes. He says law enforcement officials can focus their efforts on “real crime.” Legalizing marijuana is a matter of economy, he says, because law-enforcement officials can now spend their time on more important matters. He says it’s best to move marijuana out of the black market.

California has always been at the forefront of the marijuana movement. Voters legalized medical marijuana 20 years ago. Voters approved the move to fully-legalized marijuana in 2016. Analysts say that the marijuana economy is worth as much as $7 billion. They say sales will bring approximately $1 billion into tax coffers each year.

Sellers see the legalization of marijuana sales as an opportunity. They expect busy sales. Only eight states allow marijuana use without a medical need.

The world is watching. If all goes well, it could pave the way for more states to fully legalize marijuana. If there are problems, it could be a warning sign to other states.

Analysts expect the industry to thrive in California because of the booming tourism industry. Millions of people visit California each year. Economists expect many tourists to make marijuana a part of their travel plans. Proponents of the legalization of marijuana say it’s a great opportunity to show all tourists that legalized marijuana can work.

Good or bad, California’s marijuana economy is about to take the spotlight. Adults can have as much as an ounce of marijuana. It’s also okay to grow six marijuana plants at home. Just like it’s illegal to smoke a cigarette in public, it’s illegal to use marijuana in public. In addition to these changes, people with marijuana convictions from years past can petition the court to have the convictions removed from the public record. However, some say it’s unfair to remove a record of a person breaking a law even if marijuana is now legal.

Reviewing President Trump’s Inaugural Year from a Legal Perspective

Millions of Trump voters cast their vote for the president out of hopes that he would appoint conservative judges to the Supreme Court. In that sense, conservative voters got what they bargained for in that President Trump nominated – and the Senate later confirmed – Neil M. Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.

Trump’s Supreme Court Appointment

Surprisingly, this game-changer of a shakeup on the Supreme Court may have been overshadowed by Trump’s travel ban and the ongoing dispute of whether Trump’s divestments from his business violate the Constitution’s emoluments clause or not. In other words, lawyers and legal experts had their hands full throughout 2017 trying to parse exactly how the Trump administration’s actions fit into an historical and legal context.

The most remarkable aspect of Trump’s Supreme Court appointment may not have had anything to do with Trump per se. Before the 2017 appointment of Neil Gorsuch, there were two dozen individual instances in which a Supreme Court vacancy sprang up in the president’s final term of office. In 21 of those 24 instances (over 85%), the U.S. Senate rushed to confirm the nominee.

Obama experienced something rather unprecedented in the sense that his nomination of Merrick Garland, an erstwhile darling of the Republicans, was blocked around every turning. There were no hearings for Merrick Garland, let along a Senate vote for the nominee. Democrats, though, may have the last laugh in 2018 if they win back one or both houses in the mid-term elections.

Cooper Vs. Harris Case

The Supreme Court voted 5-3 to preclude the use of race in drawing election districts.

Trump’s Ongoing Interaction with the Supreme Court

President Trump has been one of the more vociferous critics of Supreme Court decisions in recent history. The Gloucester County School Board Vs. G.G. case that questioned whether civil rights laws ushered in under President Johnson applied to discrimination against transgender students seemed to inspire a wealth of opinions from President Trump.

Another Supreme Court case was heard vis-a-vis the National Labor Relations Act and its safeguarding of employee arbitration agreements. Trump took a position contrary to Obama’s and essentially sided with management over labor. The resulting division had the National Labor Relations Board on the side of labor and the solicitor general on the side of management. Similar splits are expected in 2018.

U.S. Economy Loses $500 Billion in Economic Output Due to Opioid Crisis

Over the past several years, the opioid epidemic has devastated many parts of the country. According to Reuters, the crisis cost the U.S. economy approximately $504 billion in 2015. The statistics were made public by economists working in the White House. A report from the White House Council of Economic Advisors shows that 2.6 percent of country’s gross domestic product came from costs related to the opioid crisis.

In October, Donald Trump called the opioid epidemic a national public health emergency. However, Democrats called Trump’s statements “meaningless” if there is no additional money added to help fight the epidemic. Republicans believe Trump’s statement is important in the fight against the epidemic.

The Trump White House could use the report from the council to request more funds to help fight the problem. The argument to persuade Republicans for more government spending is the economic impact the opioid crisis is having is far greater than additional spending. Republicans have historically been hesitant to increase spending by the federal government.

In 2015, there were 33,000 deaths related to the opioid epidemic, according to the Council of Economic Advisors. Those deaths led to lost economic output, which is estimated between $221 billion and $440 billion. Additionally, there were an estimated 2.4 million Americans addicted to opioids in 2015, which cost the United States another $72 billion in economic output.

The costs include medical treatment, expenses in the criminal justice system and a drop in economic productivity. The loss in productivity is a result of Americans struggling with addiction not being able to find or hold meaningful jobs.

The majority of drug overdoses and non-fatal drug addiction is mostly from prescription painkillers. People who are addicted to painkillers often turn to street-grade heroin if their doctors no longer give them prescriptions. According to Reuters Legal, almost 100 Americans die every day from opioid overdoses.